Business networking for CFO is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting method you can use to grow your business. But if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your business.
Business networking is a lot more than giving out business cards. It is about building trust. For CFO the networking is a lot more than meeting people. It is about connecting with the right people.
Business networking is a lot more than collecting phone numbers. It is about staying in touch, about listening, addressing needs and looking for opportunities all at the same time.
It is how as a CFO we approach relevant business networking sessions that makes it work for us. Networking is about being authentic and genuine, building relationships and trust, and helping others. Although increased sales is the end goal, don’t participate in business networking to sell.
Build relationships and sales will follow naturally. People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. Put your energy, intention and attention on business networking.
A company's finance director or CFO has always played a key role in the growth of the business in China. Aside from the usual finance related tasks, a demanding role is played dealing with regulators, media and overseas board of directors. This more visible and public role puts more pressure on CFOs to build executive presence. Many companies have found their growth constrained when their finance director is unable to take this role. Shielding finance directors from conferences and media sessions prevents companies from maximizing the potential of their CFO.
What is Executive Presence?
Executive presence is something that is not taught in business schools, but every successful leader has it. Top executives command people's attention when they walk into a room. When there is a crisis situation, the team turns to them for an opinion. Executives with presence are placed in high profile, high stakes roles to drive the company's reputation and business forward. Executive presence can be created by looking at it from three perspectives: executive credibility, positive image projection and executive connections.
Every company has a culture that includes norms on how to dress. The key to success is to first fit in to get ahead. For an executive working in finance, dress like a finance executive: well fitting suits in blues, grays and blacks will fit in. Conservative colored shirts - blues and whites work in every situation while some executives can carry more colorful shades like pink or lilac strips. Ties allow more room for self-expression with a mix of the above colors used on various patterns like stripes, checkerboard, dots and paisley. In finance, clients expect a safe and traditional approach to business and that is reflected in the dress-sense.
Creative executives in advertising or online marketing have a greater scope to be individualistic. Out of the box thinking can be manifested in clothing colors, and hair styles. In this type of industry, where creativity Is valued, this type of presentation is acceptable. However, even in these industries as you move up the organization, executives tend to converge to a dress-code.
Look around at industry and company norms, and dress a little smarter than is expected. As Jeffrey Fox says in his book, How to become CEO, "look sharp and be sharp". Invest in quality clothing, polish your shoes and groom your hair and fingernails. Successful executive presence starts with an executive look. The first step is to look like a confident executive. Stand out by paying close attention to the small details of personal grooming.
Positive image projection
In today's world of ever-present media, sounding good is an essential part of becoming an executive with presence. Many up-and-coming executives from technical disciplines, such as finance or IT, find this daunting. This can be due to the nature of what has made them successful. A strong focus on accuracy in numbers or minute details in coding are not the best preparation for being an outgoing charismatic executive. As executives move up the ladder into key roles, like finance director, CFO and regional roles, there is an expectation that they can handle public occasions.
A CFO needs to mix with potential clients at networking functions, present a case to regulators and handle media questions. Sounding confident, presenting concisely and managing questions are all stock-in-trade for a successful executive. This can be a big jump for many managers. So many take crash-courses in working with media or work with coaches to bolster their skills and confidence in personal expression.
Start with low-risk environments and if necessary bring in a mentor or HR partner to guide the finance executive into roles and situations where they need to stand up and present a clear message. This support is essential to create self-confidence in the executive. Small wins should be recognized and regular feedback given to the executive. Also, specific suggestions to improve their projection should be an important part of this feedback.
While executive presence can seem like an intangible quality, it is essential for a leader to influence and motivate their team. One of the greatest assets that President Bill Clinton had as a leader was his ability to make every person he spoke with feel like they were special and that he really cared about them and what was on their mind. In a world of emails, text messages and tweets, it's important to remember the power of personal connection.
Executive presence can be divided into competencies and one key competency is "connecting". Executives need to project warmth to their stakeholders and especially stay accessible to their direct reports. This can be challenging for executives from technical disciplines where the focus tends to be on task rather than people. Some executives benefit from support in self-awareness using assessment centers and 360 degree feedback from their directs, peers and managers. This shows their relative strengths and behaviors that may need further development.
For example, a finance executive who needs to develop more client relationships found that their natural preference was to focus on procedures and standards. In fact, this behavior helped them become a fantastic finance manager. The executive realized that they would never be a charismatic, super-outgoing, and life-of-the-party executive, so she decided to hold small presentations for key potential clients to introduce new and changing regulations. Her ability to simply and clearly explain these changes was greatly appreciated and lead to further business opportunities. All executives should build from their strengths to create their own unique executive presence.
While life in the executive suite focuses on business strategy and numbers, building executive presence in key roles, like CFO, is essential to maintain the reputation, credibility and success of the firm. In key and complex markets, like China, this becomes a necessity rather than a nice-to-have.
Identify which networking events you should attend. Pick groups that’ll help you achieve your goals. Find venues that make sense for your business. When you register for an event, schedule it like a meeting.
Determine how often you should be networking. How many times in a week, month, or quarter? Visit as many groups as possible.
Attend events with a plan and always try to learn something new. Prepare yourself for the event. Develop open-ended questions to ignite a conversation. Bring business cards but don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Give cards to those who ask you for it. Try to sit with strangers. Don’t forget to mingle.
Keep track of people you meet. Keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection. Establish a mutual beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients/ customers. Meet with the group members individually so you get to know them better and try to build quality connections. Consider other group members as resources. focus on the group; listen and think about how you can help them. Focus on giving. Build trust within the group.
Looking to start your own business to work from home?
Do you have the personality to lead or sell to others?
My name is Chaia Lewis and I'm an internet marketer with crucial information to help you answer that question. I'm going to discuss the basics of personalities, successful personality traits, and how to attain those traits.
Most advice will tell you to identify your personality and then pick your network marketing business. It's suggested that an outgoing and magnetic person will do well in Multi Level Marketing (MLM). Or if you are shy and uncomfortable selling to others, internet marketing is a better choice. And that's not bad advice, but realistically, personalities are considerably more flawed and multi-dimensional.
I have spent time with some of the most successful network marketers in the world today, and in trying to answer the above question, I came across a completely different concept. Before I reveal it, take a look at some of my personality traits I started with:
-I hated talking on the phone and all social media
-I always talked over people, and if I appeared to be listening, I was probably daydreaming or about to interrupt
-Easily distracted, struggling with efficiency and time management everyday
-Cared too much about the opinions of others
-Habitually skipped work and spent money I didn't have, i.e. completely irresponsible
-If you put me in front of too many people or a video camera, a twitchy girl would appear who apparently favored the words "um" and "like"
-I was no leader. I'd rather stay under the radar at work, which, by the way, was serving tables in a restaurant for a total of ten years because that's how much I preferred the path of least resistance.
All the advice suggested that this industry was not for me. Before you take similar advice, let's take a closer look at what a personality is. It's a set of your characteristics which endure over a long period of time. But can anything be considered permanent? The reality is, most traits in our personalities are derived from a combination of past experiences, present circumstances, and perhaps most importantly,the other personalities we surround ourselves with. For example, have you ever spent time with someone who inspired you to be more than you are? If I had the opportunity to spend a day with Steven Jobs, I guarantee the personality traits above would not be coming with me. Our personalities are also a product of what we read and watch on TV; therefore, I sold $500 worth of drama from my bookcase. As it turns out, tweaking your personality is easier than you might think when you change your environment, your influences, and your circle.
I am not, however, proposing these changes will transform you into a completely different, charming person - that's not the objective. For example, before I had access to this information, I exhausted myself looking for a business opportunity suited for me and all my flaws. And ultimately, I made my decision based on one person-one personality. He was clearly not the charismatic salesman I expected, but I could relate to this quirky character. Formally a high school dropout, his company now has members in over 200 countries. Do you see how being relatable is better than being charismatic? Are there not more socially challenged people in the world rather than smooth talkers? Eventually, as I became acquainted with my new circle, I realized the personalities of every leader were all over the spectrum with only a few common success-related traits. With such different backgrounds, how did they all end up with certain values and traits that weren't there before?
I assure you it didn't happen naturally, and it's not an easy task. In fact, the vast majority will never undergo such a change. Remember, the vast majorities don't have the income and lifestyle you are pursuing. Whether you realize it or not, if you have read this far, you most likely have these traits already. Regardless, they will lie dormant your entire life without provocation. With that in mind, the traits every successful leader acquired are as follows:
-They are committed to a process. I suggest copying the exact process of a leader you aspire to be. You cannot do better! They are consistent in that process even before they see results, because it's an educational process as well. And successful entrepreneurs are always students.
-They believe in doing the right thing. It's not about the quickest result. Help others and you will see your bank account grow, because most success achieved at the expense of another is short-lived.
-They are persistent and take charge. If you treat your business like a hobby, you will only get paid for a hobby. Take daily action as if there were a $50,000 check waiting for you upon completion.
-They are optimistic. They look for the best in everything. It's not a question of whether obstacles will come, but how many in a day. Learn to handle them.
These qualities will absolutely make you wealthy in more ways than one. However, can you incorporate them into your personality? Earlier I mentioned I had come across a different concept in spending time with successful marketers. I have not yet covered that. The reality is, you will find it impossible to attain those traits without this next key, as countless entrepreneurs have already tried with no success.
Every successful leader with the lifestyle and income that I desired had a crystal clear grasp on their Why.
It's the only way they were able to transform their personalities to achieve the desired result in their home business. This is an ancient concept, unfortunately forgotten or underestimated, and it significantly reduces failures when implemented. I elaborated on this in a separate article discussing exactly what Why is, how to discover yours, and how to use it in your business. You will find it on my authors page titled Home Business Network Marketing Success-One Key Difference Between You and Wealthy Marketers.
In short, the answer to your original question is...if it's a problem, change your personality. First, by identifying your Why. It will give you the strength to get out of your element and do something you have never done before so that you can see results you have never seen before. Look at what you surround yourself with: TV, books, music, friends, coworkers, etc. Recognize the outside elements that shape who you are, evaluate, and act accordingly.
Hopefully you now realize your personality doesn't have to be an issue, so start researching, and chose a business that will take you the direction you want to go.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible CFO you must show up regularly and on time, show others how you deal with business meetings and associates. Give quality referrals and leads. If someone gives you a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Take a referral seriously.
Don’t spam on social networks. Use the platforms designed for CFO to build relationships and expand your network.
Limit self-promotion. Don’t sell. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can. Share relevant information with others as people love to learn new things. Participate in discussions. Let others know you’re real. Be approachable. Treat your online connections just as valuable as your offline connections.